Is Dane Dunning going to start Opening Day for the Texas Rangers?

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Seattle Mariners v Texas Rangers / Hayden Carroll/Texas Rangers/GettyImages
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Opening Day is still a little over five weeks away and spring training games have not even gotten underway. It was announced on Tuesday that Dane Dunning will start the opening game of the Cactus League schedule for Texas when they take on the Kansas City Royals. The Opening Day starter will not be announced for another three to four weeks. Dunning getting the start on Friday indicates that he could be in the running for that start against the Chicago Cubs. Here are three reasons why starting Dunning that night might be the right idea for Bochy and the team.

#1- Dunning's durability in 2023

Texas suffered a number of pitching injuries throughout the 2023 season. deGrom and his Tommy John, Nathan Eovaldi's right forearm strain, Jon Gray and his variety of injuries, and Max Scherzer's back injury. Dunning though did not miss any time for the Texas Rangers in 2023. He started the season in the bullpen, moved into the rotation when deGrom went down, and then finished the season in the pen again after Texas acquired Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery.

Dunning did all of this coming off of hip surgery he had at the end of the 2022 season. He made pitched in 35 games and made 26 starts. He threw 172 2/3 innings in 2023 which is a career high for the 28-year old right hander. He was someone that Bochy could count on to give the Rangers length in games and quality. Dunning in 2023 had 12 quality starts among his 26 total starts. A quality start is defined as six innings or more with three runs or fewer allowed. Dunning was regularly making starts of five or more innings as well.

Bochy will know that if Dunning is the Opening Day starter that he will give the Texas Rangers length and give them a chance to win. Dunning in 2023 did get 12 wins which tied with Nathan Eovaldi for the team high in wins.